A popular phrase we often hear is “If looks could kill…,” but if facial expressions and body language possess that much emotional force, what about thoughts? Do they have any effect on the world around us? Many metaphysical writers and theologians say yes.
Everything in the physical world begins with a thought, write Silvia Cranston and Carey Williams in their book Reincarnation: A New Horizon in Science, Religion, and Society. That means that the world around us, both good and bad, is constructed and reinforced in the minds of everyone as accepted reality. Could it also follow that negative thoughts might have a harmful effect on those around us?
James Van Praagh asserts in his book, Ghosts Among Us, that thoughts are living entities as solid as a rock or a chair. Consequently, they can affect our lives and the lives of those around us. He adds that after we die, thoughts are part of the life review and we are held accountable for them. But if that’s the case, what are thoughts?
In quantum physics, matter is energy. Matter is defined as objects that take up space and have mass. Those objects are composed of constantly moving solar systems called atoms. It’s been observed that all living things have an energy field and one theory holds that the universe is, in fact, one big sea of energy or consciousness. Computer scientist and mathematician Kenneth McClean, in his book The Vibrational Universe, posits that every conscious being sends or receives vibrational energy based on their thoughts, feelings and beliefs. Although the notion that individual consciousness may directly influence the physical world is controversial (a minority viewpoint among physicists), like all theories, it still remains a possibility.
Some theologians agree with this view of thoughts as vibrational energy. The late Hindu spiritual teacher Sri Swami Sivananda wrote in his paper Thought Power that “thought is a dynamic force…like gravitation, cohesion or repulsion.” He explained that if a stone is tossed in a pool of water, it produces a succession of concentric waves traveling in all directions. In the same way, he said, thoughts whether positive or negative, that cross our minds give rise to vibrations in “the mental atmosphere that fills all space,” and travel far in all directions. He added, “You are floating in the ocean of thought. You are absorbing certain thoughts and repelling some…Everyone has his own thought-world.”
Why is this important? Sivananda added that people who harbor thoughts of hatred, jealousy, revenge and malice are very dangerous because their thoughts can contribute to unrest and ill-will among others. He saw thoughts and feelings as “wireless messages broadcast in ether” that are received by “those whose minds respond to such vibrations.” (A remarkable metaphor considering he died in the early 1960s.) His observation was that “thought moves with tremendous velocity,” and that those who entertained loving, sublime thoughts helped others.
If this is truly the case, then it also follows that if the world around us is not to our liking, we can effect positive changes through constructive and compassionate thoughts. That goes one step beyond Gandhi’s suggestion that we should be the change we want to see. Perhaps that’s not enough. We must also think the change we want to see. Of course, doing that would take discipline and focus, but it’s a dramatically empowering notion, and gives new meaning to the cliche “It’s the thought that counts!”
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